Choosing a Microphone: Acoustic vs Amplified?

The Harmonica Microphone Series beginsElwood’s Note: “I’m pretty ignorant when it comes to harmonica mics. When you ask me what my favourite element is, I normally choose between earth, wind, water and fire. I thought “Impedance” was a stigmatised medical condition which affects 50 percent of all men. That’s why we asked Greg Heumann at BlowsMeAway Productions to run a blog here at the Harp Surgery for the next few weeks, giving you (and me) a crash course in microphones and all the fiddly bits inside them. Greg is a performing harp player who’s been making custom mics since 2004, and he’s forgotten more about microphones than I will ever know.

Choosing a microphone: Acoustic vs Amplified?

Biscuit microphone, courtesy of Harmonica MasterclassIn choosing a microphone, the most important question of all is “What do you want to sound like?”

There are two classes of sound, with infinite variety in each class. If you’re a classical musician, you’ll probably stand in front of a stand-mounted microphone and you want the amplified sound to cleanly reflect the tone of your playing – giving the closest representation of what it would be like to be in the same room with you, with no microphone or amplifier at all. We call this kind of sound “acoustic” even though it may in fact be picked up with a microphone. (more…)